Widely considered the biggest ambassador for Margaret River's National Wine Show success on the planet!!
On the 29th of October 2021 the Margaret River Wine Association presented John Jens with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his lifetime commitment to Western Australia wine.
John was joined by his son, Jack Jens, and upon receiving the award to recognise his achievements, he spent his whole acceptance speech talking about everyone else's achievements.
"I'm grateful and I’m honoured and I’m also very very aware there are many, many other people who deserve this sort of thing. But I can tell you I moved to the west in 1977, at the same time Margaret River and the Great Southern were opening up. You guys have given me a reason for passion, a reason for pride, a reason for purpose and you’ve made my businesses financially."
As Wine Writer, Nick Ryan summarised, "that says a lot about the man".
John Jen's Full Biography
John Henry Jens is a wine zealot, who lives for and has given his life to wine.
Born in Victoria, John attended Xavier College Melbourne, studied Commerce Arts at Santa Clara University California and later attended Roseworthy College, then Australia’s only wine educational institute.
John’s introduction to wine started at home from a young age. He and each of his 9 siblings, from the age of 12, were not only expected to locate, decant and pour wines - from their father’s very extensive cellar. They were also expected to taste daily and to be able to explain their views, typically on 15 to 20 year-old red wines.
He had collected 180 bottles of Penfolds Grange by the age of 24, along with 60 dozen other premium reds.
John moved to Perth in 1977 and in 1981, in the early days of Margaret River’s wine production, he started his first wine wholesale operation to represent the state’s most prominent names including Ashbrook Estate, Pierro, Moss Wood and Cullen.
John set up and managed six liquor stores under the John Jens Fine Wine banner, and in 1990 was a 50% founding partner in Devil’s Lair Wines.
John has consulted to a number of Western Australia’s small wineries and “online” specialty wine retailers.
For 40 years he has driven Australia’s largest and most comprehensive formal tasting program. These play host predominantly to WA’s and Margaret River wineries but also to some of the world’s greatest wine names – some of whom, including Chateau d’Yquem - have flown to Perth solely to host Lamont tastings.
Since 2007 John has worked during the day in Wine Importing and Retailing, and at night as a sommelier for his wife in her family’s group of Lamonts restaurants and retail outlets.
John is a regular wine industry speaker, has hosted a weekly 6PR radio wine program for many years, and for 25 years was the wine writer for the Western Suburbs Weekly.
John’s raison d'etre has always been to put the West Australian wine industry into context. As a former professional statistician, he has more than 250,000 wine tasting notes on file and has constructed wine grids on all of Capital City Trophy winning varietal wines since 2013 - thus only recommending wines that he considered to be the best in every style and price range.
At 73 he still works 70 to 80 hours a week.
John has a steadfast commitment to Margaret River wine and his warmth and charisma that makes him such an engaging spokesperson and ambassador for the region.